noobs effects question

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noobs effects question

Postby caspersvapors » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:28 pm

so what exactly is the difference between gain, distortion and overdrive?
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Postby strumminsix » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:49 pm

Bobby: What's the difference between a frog?
Ans : One leg's both the same.

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This site rocks:
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In my opinion:
Gain - a very generic term that means increasing of a signal. Internally, preamps have multiple gain stages as the signal gets increased. Externally, the gain knob controls the level going into the preamp. Conversely many amps have a volume setting too which controls the level to the poweramp.

Overdrive - light clipping or breaking up of the preamp

Distortion - light clipping or breaking up of the poweramp usually the preamp is driven hard and overdriving to supply a strong enough signal to get the poweramp to clip.

Here's another good reference:
http://www.blackstoneappliances.com/dist101.html
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Postby strumminsix » Fri Aug 11, 2006 2:53 pm

A few more things:

OD & Distortion are tube amp qualities vs. effects. The reason companies started making these FX were to allow you to get those same qualities at lower volumes and to emulated different sounding OD or DS than what your amp could do.

These are both naturally present in tube amps and are emulated in solid state amps

It's not a n00b question at all. I have played with plenty of people who don't know the difference.
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Postby phreaker » Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:57 am

this helps me too. ive been playing for 5 years and still dont understand amps.

i do however know how to turn nobs untill the sounds is poifect.
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Postby eyeprod » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:06 am

really good amps and effects will set your standards higher. most guys play and don't know much about their gear. no biggie, good music can still be made, but knowing about gear helps with dialing in your sound. any old amp will do until you get used to something quality, then the lower quality stuff will usually stand out as being rather bad. Tube amps are great for this type of music. believe me, that's where the best tone is, tubes. they'll give you that natural overdrive which sounds so sweet. distortion is more like fuzziness or grit in the mid to higher frequencies. great for leads. overdrive is warmer, less like fuzz, more like classic bluesiness in the mid to lower-mid frequencies. great for rhythm and tasty licks.

if you have a decent tube amp, you might not need any overdrive pedal to get that sound. if it's a really clean sounding tube amp(like an non-master volume fender twin), a pedal will help get that sound without turning it up too loud. i use a ts-10 tube screamer and keeley katana(clean boost) with my ampeg v4(a clean, all tube amp) and those pedals give me all the overdrive and gain i personally want. if it's lead type, high gain distortion you want, some amps will have it built in(gain channel), or a nice pedal will work well in front of any amp. just kick it in during solos or when you need to cut through the mix.
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Postby caspersvapors » Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:05 am

so the sound of overdrive/gain can be achieved by on a tube amp without any pedals whatsoever? simply by putting the settings up high enough?
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Postby tigerstrat » Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:42 am

caspersvapors wrote:so the sound of overdrive/gain can be achieved by on a tube amp without any pedals whatsoever? simply by putting the settings up high enough?


generally yes, but you're talking about some crushingly loud volumes with anything more powerful than say a 22watt Deluxe Reverb. But I have tried diming my non-Master Vol Dual Showman Reverb in my basement once and the 60's Jerry wail is right there... lifts you off the ground almost.
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
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Postby strumminsix » Sun Aug 13, 2006 8:30 pm

caspersvapors wrote:so the sound of overdrive/gain can be achieved by on a tube amp without any pedals whatsoever? simply by putting the settings up high enough?


There is another side to it and that's if the amp has a master volume. If it was gain and volume knobs than you can achieve that overdrive sound at lower volumes.

However, as TS described it you hit the trifecta of heavy OD/Distortion:
#1 the preamp is clipping
#2 the poweramp is clipping
#3 the speaker is clipping

You get all 3 happening at once and it is a sweet, sweet sound.
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Postby hesgone95 » Mon Aug 14, 2006 10:11 am

I'm not much of an electric player, pretty much all acoustic, so pardon my silly question...but, what is clipping?
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Postby strumminsix » Mon Aug 14, 2006 11:00 am

Clipping is a signal greater than the device can handle.

So think a heaping scoop of coffee and that is your signal, but your coffee maker cannot accept that much so you take a knife and go accross the top of the sccop taking off all that exceeded the limit.

That right there is clipping.

In many newer amps you have a master volume so that you can crank your preamp but lower your poweramp thus allowing preamp clipping but the overall volume can be low.
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Postby waldo041 » Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:08 pm

strumminsix linked R.G's Distortion 101. it is a good read.

http://www.blackstoneappliances.com/dist101.html

Distortion's, Overdrive's, Fuzz's all clip the signal. they all do it different. some clip harder or softer then others. some use diodes(distortion +) some use transistor's(fuzz's), some use tube's. preamp or power amp. when they are mixed and matched they can produce different types of clipping. in the case of the distortion plus it also uses a common lm741 opamp that is susceptible to clipping without it's diodes. a simple opamp swap to a tl071 would produce a softer clip, if any, before the diodes clip the signal further. pull the diodes out of a stock distortion + and it will still clip. but will be a lot softer or cleaner then stock.

however you achieve it, it is the clipping(chopping)of the wave(signal).


Image

see how the signal is stronger with the peaks and valleys more pronounced on the clipped signal. that is because the signal is stronger. now see the cut off tops of the highest peaks on the clipped signal compared to the clean.

that is clipping.

hope this helps.

peace,
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Postby hesgone95 » Mon Aug 14, 2006 1:25 pm

yeah, I get it. thx guys. :cool:
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wow... great discussion gurus..

Postby kenneybonz » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:15 pm

that helps me a lot too.. what is the overdrive of choice .. birthday coming up.. i see ibanez tube screamers and even THEY come in several types?
or is that a dumb question?
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Re: wow... great discussion gurus..

Postby tigerstrat » Sun Aug 26, 2007 9:57 am

kenneybonz wrote:that helps me a lot too.. what is the overdrive of choice .. birthday coming up.. i see ibanez tube screamers and even THEY come in several types?
or is that a dumb question?
:smile:


No, just a very loaded one. You are right there ARE dozens of variations on the Tube Screamer, most of them are quite good. But if its any point of reference for you, Jerry never used a TS:

MXR Distortion+ for all of 79-89, the classic Minglewood/Samson/Miracle sound

He added a Boss HM-2 to the chain for a very brief part of the mid 80s (many peeps seem to be under the impression that the HM-2 was THE distortion for Jerry in the 80's- but I have seen only one blurry pic out of hundreds that looks like it shows the Heavy Metal pedal)

Then in 1990 the MXR was ditched (along with Tiger) for those two Boss overdrives...
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Re: wow... great discussion gurus..

Postby strumminsix » Sun Aug 26, 2007 11:25 am

kenneybonz wrote:that helps me a lot too.. what is the overdrive of choice .. birthday coming up.. i see ibanez tube screamers and even THEY come in several types?
or is that a dumb question?
:smile:


You should goto www.thegearpage.net which has probably 10000 posts on this topic and do some searches it's been discussed there alot of times.

But, IMO, there are basically 3 types of ODs

Midhump - boosts the mids
Scoop - boosts the lows and highs/cuts mids
Flat - no change

IMO, TSs are not that good for my needs and only really shine on solos. Scoop ones seem to be more for metal and probably more Dist than OD. For a nice flat OD you should check out a Barber LTD SR or silver.
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